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Art Department

Filming onset, inside the ice building

Films can be located anywhere; creating the visual world or setting for a film is the role of the Art Department. The look of sets or locations transports audiences into the world of the story, and is an essential element in making films convincing and evocative. These settings are rarely left to chance by film makers; a great deal of work and imagination goes into constructing appropriate backdrops to any story.

The Art Department usually employs the largest number of people on any film crew. On big budget fantasy, period drama or sci-fi films, the Art Department Offices, and Drawing and Construction Studios can occupy a vast area and employ hundreds of talented people.

Further details and occupations found in this area are detailed below:

Art Department Overview

The Art Department usually employs the largest number of people on any film crew.

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Art Director

Art Directors act as project managers for the biggest department on any film, the Art Department. They facilitate the Production Designer's creative vision for all the locations and sets that eventually give the film its unique visual identity.

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Standby Art Director

Standby Art Directors monitor the Art Department's work on set during filming on behalf of the Production Designer.

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Set Decorator/Assistant Set Decorator

Set Decorators provide anything that furnishes a film set, excluding structural elements.

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Production Buyer

Production Buyers provide administrative support to Set Decorators, and carefully monitor and control the set decorating budget to avoid overspending.

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Specialist Researcher

Specialist Researchers work closely with the Production Designer, the Supervising Art Director, Art Director(s) and Set Decorator, but also provide backup in the form of detailed research to the entire Art Department.

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Storyboard Artist

Storyboard Artists translate screenplays, or sequences from screenplays, into a series of illustrations in comic book form.

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Drapesmasters* are responsible for the production and installation of all soft furnishings on film sets, which can involve anything from a velvet cushion to a hot air balloon.

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Art Dept Co-ordinator

Art Department Co-ordinators are the conduit between the Production and the Art Department providing all logistics and liaison.

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Production Designer

Production Designers are major heads of department on film crews, and are responsible for the entire Art Department. They play a crucial role in helping Directors to achieve the film's visual requirements.

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Supervising Art Director

Supervising Art Directors have a primarily organisational role on big budget films which require a number of sets and involve large Art Departments. They manage the budget and schedule, enabling Production Designers to translate their vision into reality.

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Assistant Art Director

Assistant Art Directors translate ideas into practical realities - initial sketches become worked-up drawings from which a variety of craftsmen build sets or adapt locations.

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Assistant Production Buyer

Assistant Production Buyers are employed on bigger budget films only. On such films, they facilitate the Set Decorating department's work, and help Set Decorators to achieve their vision for each set.

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Concept Artist

Concept Artists produce the illustrations that help Production Designers to realise their vision for films.

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Graphic Artist

Graphics Artists produce all the props for films that contain graphic items.

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Draughtsman/Junior Draughtsman

Draughtsmen* are responsible for drawing up set designs.

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Art Dept Assistant

Art Department Assistants provide support to other members of the Art Department, whilst gaining valuable initial experience from which to progress to more senior Art Department roles.

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